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Susan Brennan, Ph.D.

Stanford University (1990)


Office: Psychology B-322
Phone: (631) 632-9145

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Distinguished Professor, Cognitive Science
Dr. Susan Brennan will be reviewing graduate student applications for the 2024-2025 academic year.

Research Interests:

I am a cognitive scientist who studies the psychology of language use--in particular, interactive spoken dialogue. Some of my current studies use eye-tracking, either as a measure of language processing or as a mode of communication.  I also study the human use of technology, especially speech and language interfaces to computers. Previously, I developed a computational model of caricature.

Current Research:

The psycholinguistics of spoken dialogue; eye gaze as a nonverbal signal and as an on-line measure of language processing; coordination of speaking and listening in conversation; production and comprehension of referring expressions; joint attention and coordination; speech disfluencies;  audience design; writing for a reader's comprehension; spoken dialogue interfaces to computers; human-AI interaction; multimodal communication; communication between native and non-native speakers of English

Representative Publications:

Publications (*identifies postdoc or student co-author):

Galati, A. & Brennan, S. E. (2021). What is retained about common ground? Distinct effects of linguistic and visual co-presence.  Cognition, 215,

Muller-Parker, G., Brennan, S., & Jones, E. C. (2020). Cancel Cuts to Graduate Research Fellowships. Science, 367(6477), 519. 

Muller-Parker, G., Brennan, S. E., & Jones, E. C. (2020). Why fellowships? A funding model worth defending. GradEdge: Insights on Graduate Education and Research, 9, 4-8.

Hanna, J. E. & Brennan, S. E., & Savietta, K.* (2020).  Eye gaze and head orientation cues in face-to-face referential communication. Discourse Processes, 57(3), 201-223. 

Brennan, S. E., Kuhlen, A. K., & Charoy, J.* (2018).  Discourse and Dialogue.  In S. L. Thompson-Schill (Ed.), The Stevens’ Handbook of Experimental Psychology and Cognitive Neuroscience, Fourth Edition, Language and Thought volume (pp. 145-209).  Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.

Amati, F.* & Brennan, S. E. (2018).  Eye Gaze as a Cue for Recognizing Intention and Coordinating Joint Action.  In G. Brone & B. Oben (Eds.), Eye-tracking in interaction (Advances in Interaction series).  John Benjamins.

Kuhlen, A. K., Bogler, C., Brennan, S. E., & Haynes, J. D. (2017).  Brains in dialogue: Decoding neural preparation of speaking to a conversational partner.   Social, Cognitive, and Affective Neuroscience, 12(6), 871-880.

Brennan, S. E. & Hanna, J. E. (2017).  Psycholinguistic approaches: Meaning and understanding. In E. Weigand (Ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Language and Dialogue (pp. 93-108).  New York: Taylor & Francis/Routledge.

Horton, W. S. & Brennan, S. E. (2016).  The role of metarepresentation in the production and resolution of referring expressions. In K. van Deemter, E. Krahmer, A. Gatt, & R. P.G. van Gompel (Eds.), Frontiers in Psychology: Models of Reference (pp. 1-12).

Hwang, J., Brennan, S. E., & Huffman, M. K. (2015).  Phonetic adaptation in non-native spoken dialogue: Effects of priming and audience design.  Journal of Memory and Language, 81, 72-90.

Galati, A.* & Brennan, S. E.  (2014). Speakers adapt gestures to addressees’ knowledge: Implications for models of co-speech gesture. Language, Cognition, and Neuroscience, 29, 435-451.

Brennan, S. E., Schuhmann, K. S.*, & Batres, K. M.* (2013).  Entrainment on the move and in the lab: The Walking Around Corpus. In M. Knauff, M. Pauen, N. Sebanz, & I. Wachsmuth (Eds.), Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society (pp. 1934-1939). Austin, TX: Cognitive Science Society.

Brennan, S. E., Schuhmann, K.*, & Batres, K.* (2013).  Collaboratively setting perspectives and referring to locations across multiple contexts. In workshop proceedings, Production of referring expressions: Bridging the gap between cognitive and computational approaches to reference, 35th Annual Meeting of the Cognitive Science Society, July 31, Berlin, Germany.

Kuhlen, A. K.* & Brennan, S. E.  (2013). Language in dialogue: When confederates might be hazardous to your data.  Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 20, 54- 72. (published online 11/27/12).

Kuhlen, A. K.*, Galati, A.*, & Brennan, S. E. (2012).  Gesturing integrates top-down and bottom-up information: Effects of speakers’ expectations and addressees’ feedback.  Language & Cognition, 4, 17–41.

Brennan, S. E., Hanna, J. E., Zelinsky, G. J., & Savietta, K. J.* (2012).  Eye gaze cues for coordination in collaborative tasks.  DUET 2012: Dual eye tracking in CSCW; 2012 ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work, Seattle, WA.

Brennan, S. E. (2012).  Conversation and dialogue.  In H. Pashler (Ed.), Encyclopedia of the Mind (vol. 1, pp. 202-205).  Los Angeles, CA: SAGE Publications.

Brennan, S. E., Galati, A.*, & Kuhlen, A.* (2010).  Two minds, one dialog: Coordinating speaking and understanding.  In B. H. Ross (Ed.), The Psychology of Learning and Motivation, Vol. 53 (pp. 301-344).  Burlington: Academic Press.

Neider, M. B.*, Chen, X.*, Dickinson, C. A.*, Brennan, S. E., & Zelinsky. G. J. (2010).  Coordinating spatial referencing using shared gaze.  Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 17, 718-724.

Kuhlen, A. K.* & Brennan, S. E.  (2010). Anticipating distracted addressees: How speakers’ expectations and addressees’ feedback influence storytelling.  Discourse Processes, 47, 567-587.

Galati, A.* & Brennan, S. E. (2010).  Attenuating information in spoken communication: For the speaker, or for the addressee?  Journal of Memory and Language, 62, 35–51.

Brennan, S. E. & Hanna, J. E.* (2009).  Partner-specific adaptation in dialogue. Topics in Cognitive Science (Special Issue on Joint Action), 1, 274-291.

Kraljic, T.*, Samuel, A. G., & Brennan, S. E. (2008). First impressions and last resorts: How listeners adjust to speaker variability.  Psychological Science, 19, 332-338.

Kraljic, T.*, Brennan, S. E. & Samuel, A. G. (2008). Accommodating Variation: Dialects, Idiolects, and Speech Processing. Cognition, 107, 54-81.

Ekeocha J. O.*, & Brennan, S. E. (2008).  Collaborative recall in face-to-face and electronic groups.  Memory, 16, 245-261. 

Stent, A., Huffman, M. K. & Brennan, S. E.  (2008). Adapting speaking after misrecognition: A study of hyperarticulation.  Speech Communication, 50, 163-178.

Brennan, S. E., Chen, X.*, Dickinson, C.*, Neider, M.*, &  Zelinsky, G. (2008). Coordinating cognition: The costs and benefits of shared gaze during collaborative search.  Cognition, 106, 1465-1477.

Hanna, J. E.* & Brennan, S. E. (2007).  Speakers' eye gaze disambiguates referring expressions early during face-to-face conversation. Journal of Memory and Language, 57, 596-615.

Brennan, S. E., Mueller, K., Zelinsky, G., Ramakrishnan, I.V., Warren, D. S., & Kaufman, A. (2006).  Toward a Multi-Analyst, Collaborative Framework for Visual Analytics.  IEEE Symposium on Visual Analytics Science and Technology (VAST 2006).  Baltimore, MD.

Brennan, S. E., & Lockridge, C. B.* (2006).  Computer-mediated communication: A cognitive science approach.  In K. Brown (Ed.), ELL2, Encyclopedia of Language and Linguistics, 2nd Edition (pp. 775-780).  Oxford, UK: Elsevier Ltd.

Brennan, S. E. (2005). How conversation is shaped by visual and spoken evidence.  In J. Trueswell & M. Tanenhaus (Eds.), Approaches to studying world-situated language use: Bridging the language-as-product and language-as-action traditions (pp. 95-129).  Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Kraljic, T.*, & Brennan, S. E.   (2005).  Using prosody and optional words to disambiguate utterances: For the speaker or for the addressee?  Cognitive Psychology, 50, 194–231.

Stein, R.* & Brennan, S. E. (2004).  Another person's eye gaze as a cue in solving programming problems.  Proceedings, ICMI 2004, Sixth International Conference on Multimodal Interfaces (pp. 9-15), Penn State University, State College, PA.

Brennan, S. E. & Metzing, C. A.* (2004).  Two steps forward, one step back: Partner-specific effects in a psychology of dialogue.  Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 27, 192-193. 

Schober, M. F., & Brennan, S. E. (2003).  Processes of interactive spoken discourse: The role of the partner.  In A. C. Graesser, M. A. Gernsbacher, & S. R. Goldman (Eds.), Handbook of discourse processes (pp. 123-164).  Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum. 

Metzing, C.* & Brennan, S. E.  (2003).  When conceptual pacts are broken: Partner-specific effects in the comprehension of referring expressions.  Journal of Memory and Language, 49, 201-213.

Lockridge, C. B., & Brennan, S. E.  (2002).  Addressees’ needs influence speakers’ early syntactic choices.  Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 9, 550-557.

Brennan, S. E. (2002).  Visual co-presence, coordination signals, and partner effects in spontaneous spoken discourse.  Journal of the Japanese Cognitive Science Society, 9, 7-25.

Kraut, R. E., Fussell, S. R., Brennan, S. E., & Siegel, J. (2002). Understanding effects of proximity on collaboration: Implications for technologies to support remote collaborative work. In P. Hinds & S. Kiesler, Distributed work (pp. 137-162). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Brennan, S. E., & Schober, M. F.  (2001).  How listeners compensate for disfluencies in spontaneous speech.  Journal of Memory and Language, 44, 274-296.

Bortfeld, H.*, Leon, S. D.*, Bloom, J. E.*, Schober, M. F., & Brennan, S. E.  (2001).  Disfluency rates in spontaneous speech: Effects of age, relationship, topic, role, and gender.  Language and Speech, 44, 123-149. 

Gerrig, R. H., Brennan, S. E., &  Ohaeri, J. O.*  (2001).  What characters know:  Projected knowledge and projected co-presence.  Journal of Memory and Language , 44, 81-95.

Brennan, S. E. (2000).  Processes that shape conversation and their implications for computational linguistics.  Proceedings, 38th Annual Meeting of the ACL (pp. 3-10).  Hong Kong: Association of Computational Linguistics. 

Gerrig, R. H.,  Brennan, S. E., &  Ohaeri, J. O.* (2000).  What can we conclude from speakers behaving badly?  Discourse Processes, 29, 173-178. 

Gerrig, R. H., Ohaeri, J. O.*, & Brennan, S. E. (2000).  Illusory transparency revisited.  Discourse Processes, 29, 137-159.

Cahn, J. E., & Brennan, S. E. (1999).  A psychological model of grounding and repair in dialog.  Proceedings, AAAI Fall Symposium on Psychological Models of Communication in Collaborative Systems (pp. 25-33).  North Falmouth, MA: American Association for Artificial Intelligence.

Brennan, S.E., & Schober, M.F. (1999).  Uhs and interrupted words: The information available to listeners.  In Proceedings of the 14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Satellite Meeting on Disfluency in Spontaneous Speech (pp. 19-22), Berkeley, CA.

Bortfeld, H.*, Leon, S. D.*, Bloom, J. E.*, Schober, M. F., & Brennan, S. E.  (1999). Which speakers are most disfluent in conversation, and when?  In Proceedings of the 14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences, Satellite Meeting on Disfluency in Spontaneous Speech (pp. 7-10), Berkeley, CA.

Brennan, S. E., & Ohaeri, J. O.* (1999).  Why do electronic conversations seem less polite?  The costs and benefits of hedging.  Proceedings, International Joint Conference on Work Activities, Coordination, and Collaboration  (WACC '99) (pp. 227-235).  San Francisco, CA: ACM.

Brennan, S. E. (1998).  The grounding problem in conversation with and through computers.  In S. R. Fussell & R. J. Kreuz (Eds.), Social and cognitive psychological approaches to interpersonal communication (pp. 201-225).  Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

Bortfeld, H.*, & Brennan, S. E.  (1997).  Use and acquisition of idiomatic expressions in referring by native and non-native speakers.  Discourse Processes, 23, 119-147. 

Brennan, S. E.  (1997).  Centering as a psychological resource for achieving joint reference in spontaneous discourse.  In M. Walker, E. Prince, and A. Joshi (Eds.), Centering in discourse (pp. 227-249). Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Brennan, S. E., & Clark, H. H. (1996).  Conceptual pacts and lexical choice in conversation.  Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition, 6, 1482-1493. 

Brennan, S. E. (1996).  Lexical entrainment in spontaneous dialog.  Proceedings, 1996 International Symposium on Spoken Dialogue (ISSD-96) (pp. 41-44).  Acoustical Society of Japan: Philadelphia, PA.

Brennan, S. E., & Williams, M.* (1995).  The feeling of another's knowing: Prosody and filled pauses as cues to listeners about the metacognitive states of speakers.  Journal of Memory and Language, 34, 383-398.

Brennan, S. E. (1995). Centering attention in discourse. Language and Cognitive Processes, 10, 137-167.

Brennan, S. E., & Hulteen, E. (1995).  Interaction and feedback in a spoken language system:  A theoretical framework.   Knowledge-Based Systems, 8, 143-151. 

Brennan, S. E., & Ohaeri, J. O.* (1994).  Effects of message style on users' attributions toward  agents.  CHI '94, Human Factors in Computing Systems, Conference Companion (pp. 281-282).  Boston, MA. 

Brennan, S. E. (1991).  Conversation with and through computers.  User Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction, 1, 67-86. 

Whittaker, S. J., Brennan, S. E., & Clark, H. H. (1991).  Coordinating activity: An analysis of interaction in computer-supported cooperative work.  Proceedings, CHI '91, Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp. 361-367).  New Orleans, LA: Addison-Wesley. 

Clark, H. H., & Brennan, S. E. (1991).  Grounding in communication.  In L. B. Resnick, J. Levine, & S. D. Teasley (Eds.), Perspectives on socially shared cognition (pp. 127-149).  Washington, DC: APA.  Reprinted in R. M. Baecker (Ed.), Groupware and computer-supported cooperative work: Assisting human-human collaboration (pp. 222-233).  San Mateo, CA: Morgan Kaufman Publishers, Inc.

Brennan, S. E. (1990). Conversation as direct manipulation: An iconoclastic view.  In B.K. Laurel (Ed.), The art of human-computer interface design (pp. 393-404).  Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.

Brennan, S. E. (1988). The multimedia articulation of answers in a natural language database query system.  Proceedings, Second Conference on Applied Natural Language Processing (pp. 1-8).  Austin, TX: Association of Computational Linguistics. 

Brennan, S. E., Friedman, M. W., & Pollard, C. J. (1987).  A centering approach to pronouns.  Proceedings, 25th Annual Meeting of the ACL (pp. 155-162).  Stanford, CA: Association of Computational Linguistics. 

Rhodes, G., Brennan, S., & Carey, S. (1987).  Identification and ratings of caricatures: Implications for mental representations of faces.  Cognitive Psychology, 19, 473-497.

Brennan, S. E. (1985).  The caricature generator.  Leonardo, 18, 170-178.    Republished (2007) in Leonardo’s 40th anniversary volume, as the article that "holds the notable distinction of being the most 'cited' article published in Leonardo.”

Current Research Support::

"Communication in the Global University: A Longitudinal Study of Language Adaptation at Multiple Timescales in Native- and Non-Native Speakers."  NSF IBSS Program (Psychology, Linguistics, and Asian Studies).  $999,817.